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New Zealand Health IT Companies Gain Expertise

7 August 2002

New Zealand Health IT Companies Gain Expertise In International Protocol

New Zealand health information technology companies are being given the opportunity to learn more about an international messaging standard critical to them improving their competitive edge, with assistance from Industry New Zealand.

Industry New Zealand is supporting five international specialists in Health Level 7 (HL7), to offer highly focused, technical tutorials for New Zealand health IT companies attending the Health Informatics New Zealand (HINZ) conference being held in Auckland this week.

Healthcare is a very information and knowledge intensive industry and health information technology solutions are being sought by governments around the world to help them prevent adverse medical events, as well as provide quality and cost-effective health care services.

One of the barriers to this development has been the lack of an international data messaging standard which allows health data to be transferred across disparate information systems used by different departments within hospitals, and between hospitals and health care services in different countries.

To resolve this, the world has been converging on the development and implementation of HL7, as an international messaging standard.

About 19 countries around the world are signed up members of HL7, including 80 percent of the health care facilities in the United States of America, the biggest health care market.

New Zealand software developers are already renowned for developing health IT solutions designed with the flexibility and functionality to meet the requirements of healthcare facilities both in New Zealand and overseas.

The developers realised the potential of this protocol some years ago and built HL7 capability into their products. This foresight has been a strong selling point for companies wishing to export their software.

Building our knowledge in HL7 is crucial to improving health IT products developed by New Zealand health IT companies, says Ann Browett conference chair and chair of (HINZ).

“The workshops and tutorials mean the New Zealand companies will learn not only the latest technical details of the HL7 international messaging standards but also how the latest standards will apply in New Zealand.

“With this knowledge, they will be able to improve their competitive edge and potential to export their products, “ Ms Browett says.

Health care expenditure of developed nations ranges from 7 to 14.5 percent with most OECD countries averaging at around 8 percent of GDP.

Industry New Zealand World Class New Zealanders manager Karlene Davis says the Health IT companies have received funding through the International Business Missions Programme.

“This programme provides assistance to New Zealand business groups and clusters to access skills and knowledge from best practice overseas experts, to help build their international capability.

The conference runs from 8-10 August.

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For more information contact:

Ann Browett

Phone: (09) 639 0458

E-mail: ann@delphic.co.nz

Karlene Davis

Industry New Zealand

Phone: 04 910 4396

E-mail: karlene.davis@industrynz.govt.nz

Editor’s Note.

Health Informatics New Zealand (HINZ), organisers of the conference, is a national, not-for-profit organisation whose focus is to facilitate improvements in business processes and patient care in the health sector through the application of appropriate information technologies. HINZ members include health information professionals and businesses, including members of the business group for this mission.

Industry New Zealand is New Zealand’s national economic development agency responsible for building a portfolio of world class businesses in New Zealand.

World Class New Zealanders is an Industry New Zealand programme designed to help increase New Zealand's international competitiveness by giving entrepreneurs and high growth New Zealand industries and businesses the opportunity to learn from the world's best companies and brightest talents.

International Business Missions, part of the World Class New Zealanders programme, assist New Zealand Businesses to:

- Improve capabilities critical to competitive growth

- Learn skills from top offshore businesses

- Establish networks with overseas experts and strategic partners linked to capability improvement

- Access international expertise not readily available in New Zealand.

Industry New Zealand’s support for the conference is part of ongoing support Industry New Zealand is providing for the Health IT cluster, and organisations within the cluster. The Health IT cluster comprises businesses, virtually all of which are also members of HINZ.

The Health IT cluster was formed about 18 months ago, although its origins extend back to the mid-1980’s when some of the firms and hospital managers began liaising. Approximately thirty New Zealand-based information technology firms producing software for the health care industry, all but one private, form a Porter-type cluster centred in Auckland and linked with health care providers, government departments, universities and others. In total, their revenues make up about ten percent of one of the government’s priority sectors - Information and Communications Technology.

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